Don’t we all love travelling? It’s fun, invigorating and exciting! However, we feel like kicking ourselves in the ass for making super silly mistakes sometimes. Here are 6 of my stupid travel mistakes:
- Missing the bus/train/flight: This is probably the most common travel mistake, and I’m sure many of us have committed this mistake before, yes? For myself, I committed this mistake twice. As previously mentioned in the article “Why I Love Travelling Alone”, I missed my bus in Penang due to being over-engrossed with my camera.
The other occasion happened when catching a bus from Stratford to London. Wrongly remembering the departure time as being 10 minutes later, my friend and I thought we were early and happily sat at the bus terminal refreshing ourselves with tidbits and drinks. At that same moment, our bus departed and we had no clue about it! The worst part? We were headed to London to catch a (cheap) connecting overnight bus to Edinburgh :(
- Booking the wrong flight: Travelling causes you to lose track of time, and you start to forget the day of the week (isn’t everyday Sunday?). This is especially true for longer-term travel. Hence, after spending 6 months travelling in Europe, it is forgivable that I had wrongly booked a flight on 29 June, instead of 29 July right? Ok, to the check-in staff who pointed out my horrendous mistake, maybe not so much :P
- Missing the train stop: At Ljubljana, my friends and I decided to visit the Škocjan Caves via train. We obtained the estimated time of arrival at Divača, the nearest station from the caves, and began to keep a lookout for the station when the time was near. With the caves being a UNESCO Site and our minds being heavily influenced by commercialism, we expected the train station to be prominent, populated and properly sign-posted. Hence, when we did pass by the actual Divača station, its unassuming appearance led us to believe it wasn’t the right stop and we did not alight! With infrequent train schedules and failed attempts at hitchhiking, we finally took a cab to the caves. And to top things off, we even had a miscommunication with the taxi driver over the fare. It was probably an understatement to call it an eventful day!
- Losing my passport: Losing your travel documents will prove to be one of the most stressful mistakes! Having to make a hasty exit from the train at Bologna, I only grabbed my large backpack (which I carry on my back) and carelessly left behind my small backpack (which I carry on my front AND contains my passport). What ensued were unpleasant conversations with unfriendly Italian staffs and frantic attempts at searching the train when it returned in the wee hours of the next morning. Even the best Italian food in Bologna could not cheer me up. If you know me, that is really serious as I LOVE Italian cuisine. Ok, fine I admit – I still smiled gleefully after a delicious serving of Panna Cotta :)
- Smiling to a pickpocket: Thankfully, I have not fell victim to petty crime so far. *touch wood* The closest shave happened when I smiled at this stranger, who started to follow behind me in close proximity. Sensing something was not right then, I stuck my hands into my pockets. True enough, he tried to trip me with his legs and at the same time, attempt to snitch my wallet with his hands. It was a horribly pathetic attempt and it did not work out. The funniest part? He actually turned back to me, mumbled a few words and smiled at me! Oh, and to add to the irony, this incident happened in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Thinking I’m Superman: There were many instances during my travels where I (incorrectly) felt I was Superman. Despite having a fever when I was at the Blue Mountains, I simply popped 2 tablets of Panadol and proceeded to bushwalk on moderately difficult tracks. When the medication wore out, I naturally felt like shit! At Mount Cook, I refused to surrender to the horrid South Island weather and attempted to do a 2-hour walk to Kea Point. 15 minutes into the journey, I realised my folly as the heavy downpour and blustery wind meant a hasty retreat to shelter!
After reading all these mishaps and accidents, you will probably think that I am an idiot! I sure felt like a total dumbass after making these mistakes. But you know what – on hindsight – these mistakes have shaped my travel experiences, just as much as the wonderful events did. And that’s the magic of travel – you will fondly reminisce on both the pleasant and not-so-pleasant memories.
Whether you are a seasoned traveller or a newbie beginning to explore the world, mistakes and accidents will happen anytime. When the unknown and unexpected happens, you just deal with the matter as best as you can. And to me – that’s the essence of travel: throw caution to the wind, live spontaneously and abandon your worries. So the next time we make a mistake while travelling, let’s try not to beat ourselves too much over it. And. Just. Laugh! :)